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Pasco high school marching bands step up their game

Gulf High School Buccaneer Band

Members: band, 74; color guard, 11

Staff: William Rutherford, band director; Kelly Rutherford, color guard sponsor; Angelo Saroukos, percussion instructor

Drum majors: Rachael Hitchcock and Drew Eglin

Halftime show: "Magic & Illusions." Selections include Gandalf — Lord of the Rings, by Johan De Meij/arranged by Jay Bocook; Sorcerer's Apprentice, by Paul Dukas/arranged by Richard Saucedo; Hocus Pocus, by Chris Crockarell; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Part III, by John Williams/arranged by Ralph Ford.

Competitions/performances: District 5 Florida Bandmasters Association Marching Performance Assessment at River Ridge High School, Nov. 6.

Of special note: Color guard captains Cassie Reed and Shannon Stephens recently received several awards including a Superior trophy at Penny's Camp at Eckerd College. Incoming freshman Shane Gillen attended the Double Reed summer camp at FSU.

Other school music programs: jazz ensemble, color guard, keyboarding/music theory, IB music

Special needs: Golf cart and donations for purchase of copy machine. Send donations to: GHS Band Office 5355 School Road, New Port Richey, FL 34652 or call (727) 774-3374.

J.W. Mitchell High Marching Mustangs

Number of participants: 120

Staff: Joshua Sall, director; Joshua Hollenbeck, arranger/woodwind staff; John Lluvera, percussion director; Betsy Koss, guard director; Michael Wilson, Jon Tate, Andrew Kapec, brass staff; Lauren Westenberger, woodwind staff

Drum majors: Christina Lasater and Brandon Slaughter

Halftime show: "Renegade." Selections include The Ecstasy of Gold, by Ennio Morricone, Magnificent Seven, by Elmer Bernstein, Hoedown from Rodeo/Copeland, Renegade/Styx.

Competitions/performances: Largo High School "Golden Invitational," Oct. 9; Newsome Regional, Oct. 30; District 5 FBA Marching Performance Assessment at River Ridge High, Nov. 6; Annual Prism Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 11

Other school music programs: jazz band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, chorus, color guard, percussion

Of special note: Oboe player Colin Brosnan and clarinet player Colin Gaynor were selected for All-State Band.

Special needs: Public announcement system, microphones and microphone stands. If you used to play an instrument that you still own and would like to see it used, the school accepts instrument donations. The Mitchell band needs oboes, bassoons, alto saxophones and tenor saxophones. Send donations to the Marching Mustangs, c/o Joshua Sall at Mitchell High, 2323 Little Road New Port Richey, FL 34655 or call (727) 774-9357.

Pasco High School Marching Band of Pirates

Number of participants: 74

Staff: Edward Evans, director; Jay Wood, percussion instructor; Ben Griffin, front ensemble; Laurel Weightman, auxiliary instructor

Drum major: Kara Inversso; assistant drum major: Kasey Lewis

Halftime Show: "Pirates"

Performances/competitions: Lion's Pride at King High School Oct. 23; District 5 FBA Marching Band Assessment at River Ridge, Nov. 6

Other school music programs: string orchestra, percussion, jazz band and symphonic band

Of special note: Each year, students audition for All-State Band, All-County Band, Festival of Winds Honor Bands at the University of South Florida, Tri-State Band Festival at Florida State University and the Quad County Honor Band at the University of Tampa.

Special needs: Donations are always welcome. Send donations payable to Pasco High School Band, c/o Pasco High, 36850 State Road 52, Dade City, FL 33525. (352) 524-5500.

Ridgewood High School Marchin' Rams

Number of participants: winds, 34; percussion, nine; color guard, 12

Staff: Tark Katzenmeyer, director; Vicki Schuster, color guard instructor; Joel Quina, percussion instructor

Drum majors: Meagan Miller and Noelle Hookins

Halftime show: the music of Carmen

Performances/competitions: University of South Florida HOT Day, Sept. 4; Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festival at Tarpon Springs High, Oct. 16; FBA District 5 Marching Band at River Ridge, Nov. 6. New Port Richey Holiday Parade

Of special note: Noelle Hookins participated in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Florida Salvation Army Band.

Other school music programs: music appreciation, drama and chorus

Special needs: Ridgewood is seeking to install a new computer technology lab, including Finale music notation software, music theory software, and SmartMusic Studio software. Any community help will directly benefit student access to the newest technology available. Send donations to: the Marchin' Rams, c/o Tark Katzenmeyer at Ridgewood High, 7650 Orchid Lake Road, New Port Richey, FL 34653. Call (727) 774-3924 or e-mail

Sunlake Soaring Sound Marching Band

Members: 65

Staff: Tonya O'Malley, director; Melanie Wittke, Nicholas Souder, Betsy Koss, Katey Gray, Michael Hansen, Eric Allair, instructors/volunteers

Drum majors: Mary McCune and Dawn McNabb

Halftime show: "Silence is Golden," composed by Alex Yoder

Competitions/performances: Hurricane Pride Invitational at Citrus High School, Oct. 2; Chamberlain Invitational at Chamberlain High School, Oct. 23; Newsome Florida Marching Band Coalition Regional at Newsome High School, Oct. 30

Other school music programs: concert band, jazz band, winter guard, music theory, piano keyboarding and chorus

Special needs: Donations to assist with competition transportation and instrument needs. Call Tonya O'Malley at (727) 246-1000.

Summer band camp. It's part of the back-to-school routine for the musically inclined who typically pick up their instruments during the last week of July while their contemporaries are still sleeping in. It's a lot of work, but how these kids gel during two weeks of marching or working it out, note by note, in a sectional practice session will determine the success of the program, both on the field and during the winter concert season later on. "The expectation is to have everyone playing at the same level," said William Rutherford, director of the Gulf High Buccaneer Band.

Even when the heat index is crazy hot and you have 24 freshmen to break in.

But pouring sweat while counting steps out on a steamy practice field is just part of it.

"It's hard work that you want to do," said Rachael Hitchcock, 15, who shares drum major duties at Gulf High with Drew Eglin, 16.

That's because there's a magical halftime show to make somewhat cohesive before the first home game on Aug. 27 and absolutely perfect for the District 5 marching assessment on Nov. 6 at River Ridge High.

The idea there is to meet last year's standard with a straight Superior rating from the judges.

"The football games are important," Rutherford concedes. "But our real goal is Nov. 6."

True to form, the Buccaneer Band plans on offering some unique and fun visuals during its halftime show. Word is that the third selection will be very impressive. Band members aren't saying much beyond that, as they've been sworn to secrecy.

But it promises to be pretty awesome, said drum major Eglin.

"People are going to be like, Whoa!!! What just happened??!!"

Michele Miller, Times staff writer

Pasco high school marching bands step up their game 08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 10:08pm]
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